This book investigates the subjective and objective representations of the world, developing analogies between secondary qualities and indexical thoughts and arguing that subjective representations are ineliminable. Throughout, McGinn brings together historical and contemporary discussions to illuminate old problems in a novel way.
Identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth are fundamental philosophical concerns. Colin McGinn treats them both philosophically and logically, aiming for maximum clarity and minimum pointless formalism. He contends that there are real logical properties that challenge naturalistic metaphysical outlooks. These concepts are not definable, though we can say a good deal about how they work. The aim of Logical Properties is to bring philosophy back to philosophical logic.
Colin McGinn presents his latest work on consciousness in ten interlinked papers, four of them previously unpublished. He extends and deepens his controversial solution to the mind-body problem, defending the view that consciousness is both ontologically unproblematic and epistemologically impenetrable. He also investigates the basis of our knowledge that there is a mind-body problem, and the bearing of this on attempted solutions. McGinn goes on to discuss the status of first-person authority, the possibility of atomism with respect to consciousness, extreme (...) dualism, and the role of non-existent objects in constituting intentionality. He argues that traditional claims about our knowledge of our own mind and of the external world can be inverted; that atomism about the conscious mind might turn out to be true; that dualism is more credible the more extreme it is; and that all intentionality involves non-existent objects. These are all surprising positions, but he contends that what the philosophy of mind needs now is 'methodological radicalism' - a willingness to consider new and seemingly extravagant ideas. (shrink)
McGinn's latest brings together moral philosophy and literary analysis in a way that illuminates both. Setting out to enrich the domain of moral reflection by showing the value of literary texts as sources of moral illumination, McGinn starts by setting out an uncompromisingly realist ethical theory, arguing that morality is an area of objective truth and genuine knowledge. He goes on to address such subjects as the nature of goodness, evil character, and the meaning of monstrosity in the context of (...) an aesthetic theory of virtue, which maintains that goodness of character is the same thing as beauty of soul. Looking at such literary works as Billy Budd, Lolita, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Frankenstein, as well as examples from film and painting, Ethics, Evil, and Fiction is an original and compelling book by a leading philosopher who is also a critic and novelist. (shrink)
In The Subjective View,' I defended (unoriginally) a dispositional theory of color and drew out some consequences of that theory. The dispositional theory (DT) maintains, roughly speaking, that for an object to instantiate a color property is for it to have a disposition to cause experiences as of an object having that property in normal perceivers in normal conditions. This theory has notable merits in capturing (assuming one wants them captured) the subjectivity and relativity of ascriptions of color, while allowing (...) that it is external ob- jects themselves that are colored. It makes colors both sense depen- dent and object qualifying.2 But it runs into prima facie problems in giving a plausible account of the phenomenology of color percep- tion, as I ruefully observed in my earlier book (op. cit., pp. 132-37). (shrink)
Whether it's conkers in the schoolyard, kicking a football in the park, or playing tennis on Wimbledon Centre Court, sport impacts all of our lives. But what is sport and why do we do it? Colin McGinn, renowned philosopher , reflects on our love of sport and explores the value it has for us and the part it plays in a life lived well. Written in the form of a memoir, McGinn discusses many of the sports he has engaged in (...) - from pole-vaulting and gymnastics to windsurfing and tennis - and describes the athletic experience from the inside, as a participant, articulating what is uniquely valuable about sport as an activity. Sport, argues McGinn, takes us to our fullest potential as human beings, it's what we fling at mortality to keep it at bay, a holiday from the Unbearable Heaviness of Being. "Sport" expresses our nature, it bears upon our self-realization. If a happy life consists in one that expresses fully our natural faculties, then sports must play an essential role in our lifes. Mind-body unity, the nature of practical knowledge and physical skill, success and failure, the ethics of competition, peak experiences, the spectacle of professional sport, aesthetics and death, McGinn discusses these and many other issues while telling of his own sporting mishaps and adventures. To use the vernacular of philosophy, "Sport" captures the phenomenology of sport - what it's like to do it - and in doing so shows how sport is a way of expressing and understanding who and what we are, way beyond whether we are a good sportsman, a bad loser or a team-player. For anyone who has ever thought that there must be less humiliating ways to enjoy yourself than being thrashed on the tennis court, "Sport" will reassure you that it's time not wasted. (shrink)
Consciousness lacks extension and other spatial properties. But how can this be, if it arises from matter in space? The paper argues that this conundrum can only be solved by recognizing that our current conception of space is fundamentally inadequate. However, no other conception is available to us.
If philosophy consists of conceptual analysis, is it thereby debarred from being a science? This article argues that it is not and that philosophy so conceived is a science. The argument takes the form of careful attention to the meaning of “science,” “experiment,” “empirical,” and related words. Philosophy is a formal science. This does not mean it is not part of the humanities. The role of observation in other kinds of science is investigated. There is more methodological homogeneity in the (...) various sciences, including philosophy, than has been recognized, despite some clear differences. Seeing this helps restore philosophy to its rightful place in the academic firmament. (shrink)
The Character of Mind provides a sweeping and accessible general introduction to the philosophy of mind. Colin McGinn covers all of the main topics--the mind-body problem, the nature of acquaintance, the relation between thought and language, agency, and the self.In particular, McGinn addresses the issue of consciousness, and the difficulty of combining the two very different perspectives on the mind that arise from introspection and from the observation of other people. This second edition has been updated with three new cutting-edge (...) chapters on consciousness, content, and cognitive science to make it the reader of choice on this vital topic. (shrink)
It is argued that kripke's objections to the identity theory can be met by token theories. the crucial point is that the existence of the required qualitative counterparts is consistent with the absence of psychophysical correlations.
This book brings together a selection of Colin McGinn's philosophical essays from the 1970s to the 1990s, whose unifying theme is the relation between the mind and the world. The essays range over a set of prominent topics in contemporary philosophy, including the analysis of knowledge, the a priori, necessity, possible worlds, realism, mental representation, appearance and reality, and color.
I find myself in agreement with almost all of Galen's paper (Strawson, 2006) -- except, that is, for his three main claims. These I take to be: that he has provided a substantive and useful definition of 'physicalism'; that physicalism entails panpsychism; and that panpsychism is a necessary and viable doctrine. But I find much to applaud in the incidentals Galen brings in to defend these three claims, particularly his eloquent and uncompromising rejection of the idea of brute emergence, as (...) well as his dissatisfaction with standard forms of physicalism. I certainly find his paper far more on target than most of the stuff I read on this topic. (shrink)
A sketch is given of the view that there are non-existent intentional objects: such things as Pegasus and Zeus, which do not exist but which can be the subject of thought, which can be referred to, and to which true predicates can be applied. It is claimed that non-existent objects are the foundation of all intentionality: whenever there is intentionality towards an existent object, there is concurrent intentionality towards a non-existent one. The consequences of this view for perception and reference (...) are considered. The question of reference to non-physical objects – abstract or mental entities – is raised and it is argued that this does not involve an accompanying reference to a non-existent intentional object, as is the case with reference to the physical. (shrink)